Going Further: Top tips

As a group of schools and alliances at various stages of research engagement, we are very conscious of the challenges that schools and teachers face in getting started with R&D.  This page offers some hints and tips on coping with these challenges, drawn from external research as well as our own experiences:


Build trust by focusing on pupil learning

Building trusting relationships is easier said than done, especially if teachers are not used to working together to plan, observe and review lessons.  Focusing on pupil learning (e.g. rather than focusing directly on teaching) can help colleagues to build trust and develop confidence in being observed by peers, providing a platform to discuss issues around teaching and learning in greater depth.


Allow for ebb and flow

Remember to allow for the fluctuating nature of PLC development.  As one head teacher describes:  “You can’t be growing all the time. There are ebbs and flows: when you get into a new school year; after a few weeks; the beginning of a new term; the end of term tidying up and rewards and satisfaction… There are phases when you have spurts, or when you chill out, or when the waters are distinctly choppy.” [1]


Embrace and persist with challenge

Collaborating on research projects can be tough: you may have to challenge beliefs and rethink long-held practice.  You need persistence and resilience to get colleagues on board and manage risks.  Teachers have to keep motivated and stay resilient.  They also have to believe in their own capacity to grow and improve.


For further ideas see 10 Tips for Successful School-led Research Projects